Russian church leaders detained for an evangelistic event

By May 25, 2006

Russia (MNN) — As religious freedom continues to be a concern for many in Russia, Slavic Gospel Association is reporting an incident they’re hoping doesn’t become commonplace in the region.

According to SGA’s Joel Griffith, several members of the Resurrection Baptist Church in Russia’s Ivanovo were detained by local authorities after a raid last week on an authorized evangelistic event. “The church was using a local theater to show a Christian film and then they were going to distribute copies of the New Testament and Psalms. When the distribution began they had some agents from the local home affairs office enter the theater and then stopped the proceedings and they told the church that the distribution was illegal. And, this was despite the church having all the necessary documents that would allow the event.”

The local believers have been fined, but they plan to appeal the fine.

Griffith says many were surprised by this turn of events. “For what we understand from Reverend Vladimir Miskovich, who is the region pastor there, says it’s the first time in Ivanovo that they’ve been detained and charged in connection with New Testaments, although they have been detained for other things. It seems like the authorities in the Ivanovo region do like to cause evangelical churches some difficulties.”

This isn’t a wide-spread problem, but it does happen. “Depending on where you’re at, in some regions the churches do very well and have no problems. Then in other regions they have a lot more problems from the authorities,” says Griffith.

While it appears the difficulties may be increasing in some areas, SGA needs your financial and prayer support for, “Church planting missionaries, we sponsor them. We have training ministries such as Bible institutes and seminaries that we sponsor — that prepare pastors and Christian education workers (and) music leaders. We exist to serve the church.”

Click on the link below to help SGA financially and prayerfully.

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